Speed Reads


Joe Biden to Vladimir Putin: 'I don't think you have a soul'

Vice President Joe Biden claims he once looked Russian President Vladimir Putin right in the face and called him soulless. That incredible tale comes via a sprawling profile of the vice president in the latest edition of The New Yorker.

To illustrate his emphasis on personality as a factor in foreign affairs, Biden recalled visiting Putin at the Kremlin in 2011: "I had an interpreter, and when he was showing me his office I said, 'It's amazing what capitalism will do, won't it? A magnificent office!' And he laughed. As I turned, I was this close to him." Biden held his hand a few inches from his nose. "I said, 'Mr. Prime Minister, I'm looking into your eyes, and I don't think you have a soul.'" [The New Yorker]

Putin even smiled at the remark, according to Biden.

The incredible anecdote is a riff on former President George W. Bush's claim that he looked into Putin's eyes, when they first met in 2001, and saw his soul. Whether or not Biden's version is 100 percent accurate, given the VP's alleged penchant for embellishing the truth, we'll never know.